View Full Version : Delta evacuation in Tampa

24th Jun 2003, 00:55
Eight slightly hurt in plane evacuation in Tampa
Monday June 23, 11:50 am ET

TAMPA, Fla., June 23, Reuters - Eight people were slightly injured on Monday when passengers, apparently alarmed by seeing flames coming from an engine, inflated emergency slides and evacuated a plane at the Tampa airport, airline and fire rescue officials said.

The plane, a Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL - News) Boeing 757 (NYSE:BA - News) bound for Atlanta with 167 passengers on board, was pushing back from the gate at Tampa International Airport when it experienced what is known as a "hot start," said Delta spokeswoman Peggy Estes.

Hot start is when fuel condensation forms overnight on an engine and a flame is briefly emitted when it is fired up for the first flight of the day, she said.

"Initial reports indicated that some passengers may have seen flames from (an) engine and some elected to open the emergency exits, automatically deploying chutes," Estes said in e-mailed comments.

Some of the passengers evacuated through chutes, while the rest followed flight attendants' instructions and got out through the normal exits, she said.

Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Capt. Bill Wade said eight people were taken to a hospital, mostly with soreness, bumps and bruises from landing hard after sliding down the chutes, but there were no life-threatening injuries.

"Subsequently ... you could see no damage to the aircraft, but I don't doubt that seeing fire coming out of the engine caused some concern," he said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Christopher White described the incident on Flight 1036 as "an uncommanded passenger evacuation," and added the FAA was looking into it.

Cyclic Hotline
24th Jun 2003, 01:17
Hot start is when fuel condensation forms overnight on an engine and a flame is briefly emitted when it is fired up for the first flight of the day, she said.

And to think after all these years that I never knew this!

Better get the books out again and start learning, I obviously missed some very important parts.:ugh:

24th Jun 2003, 04:22
How did the crew let THE PAX initiate an evacuation??????

Surely there is a chain of command ,and the flightcrew/fa's would be first to start off this (costly)chain of events??

Are not all doors manned by cabin crew during pushback at Delta?
This is mandatory in the UK.

24th Jun 2003, 04:37

tell me since they have it all better in the UK...duh :8 :yuk:

how are you going to man the overwing exits ? by having a FA sitting in your lap maybe? :ok:
and during pushback arn't the FA's doing all sorts of things? like arming the slides? and taking care of Buisness pax?

Think before you speak..eh..leap in this case

let me point you the way to happiness...


24th Jun 2003, 04:43

They don't have overwing exits on a 757....duh!

Think before you..eh.. leap in this case!!

Not such a smart ass now,eh?

24th Jun 2003, 05:16
Do they not have overwing exits on the 757-300???

Ian J! :)

24th Jun 2003, 05:27
Chutes on an overwing exit?

My god I gotta read the AOM some more.

Night Las Palmas
24th Jun 2003, 05:30
Some 757-200's also have overwing exits instead of the L3/R3 exits. I think Delta have this fit but I'm not sure.

24th Jun 2003, 05:35

757-200s come in two flavours. Delta does not have 757-300s.

Mr @ Spotty M
24th Jun 2003, 05:39

I Hate to tell you, but you have shot yourself in both feet.
I would say most of the B757-200s flying in the USA have overwing exits. Delta, American, United and Continental to name the 4 big airlines. So thats the three biggest 757 operators in the world. So i would guess that there are more with overwing than without. You have been looking at aircraft operating in europe for to long.
So in all l think you owe Pointer a very deep Apology.


Yes you had better start with your reading.
Each pair of over wings has a slide, which comes out of a compartment just above the inboard flap.

24th Jun 2003, 07:26
And there was me thinking that (quote from the Boeing flight crew training manual)
" ...there are 8 emergency exits on the Boeing 757-200 series. They are labelled L/R1,L/R2,L/R3 & L/R4. Exits L/R1,L/R2,L/R4 are positioned at the normal cabin door entry/exit points and Emergency exit L/R3 is situated AFT of the trailing edge of the wing." Unquote. I've never seen a B752 with overwing exits
I only ever flew B752's on the UK register. I positioned around in them often and frequently sat at DOORS 3. I doubt any one could see through an alum-inum wing to witness a transient flash from the tailpipe of a G/E or P&W engine if they were sat at an OVERWING exit. I've had and seen a few Hot-Starts and they are indeed nothing more than momentry flashes. Certainly not a reason for a passenger to initiate an uncommanded evac.
I guess that you learn something new everyday. I wouldn't of believed it if I hadn't seen the safety info. post.

Pointer, We have differant mods and specification fits but I read your post to be a tad anti-Brit. On ALL Brit B752's we have the 8 emerg. exit fits and they are manned (99% of the time ) by a stationed Cabin Crew member. That is probably why Anti-Ice was querying as to how this could happen. I think you jumped on him a little hard.I assumed that 8 door was the norm as did Anti -Ice,just as you thought 10 door was Standard.

I apologise for assuming the B752 in this incident was a Standard Fit but not for responding as I did to Pointer.

[email protected]
Are you sure there are more 10 exit a/c than 8 door examples?
There are quite a lot of American A/L,United and Delta B752's parked in storage at the minute and there are quite a few large users on the 8 door list. For example ATA,AmeriWest,TWA(I concede part of AA), but also US Airways, Northwest A/L,BA, IBERIA then in addition to the UK and European Charterers you have the Mexican and Chinese Heavyweights.

24th Jun 2003, 08:13
Well excuse me Pointer (sister).
Thanks for your delightful reply:yuk: :yuk:

I'm well aware most US 757s have o/w exits,and no i wouldn't expect the fa's to sit on anyones lap , but surely they would be monitoring the cabin to some extent? (must've noticed a scene in the cabin before they had a chance to open exits.)?

Maybe we have got it better in the UK, cos every Delta flight i ever took was lousy.:) :) :)

Thanks pontius, yeh he is anti-brit obviously ,but i don't rise to infantile behaviour.

Get a life2:p

24th Jun 2003, 12:32
Hmmm, ain't good, these passengers leaping out of their seats to rush out exits without being told to do so.
Wonder if any decided to exit on the side with the hot-starting engine...:hmm:

Still not as bad as what madam 411A witnessed about 10 years ago in BKK.
NWA 747, during the start of the takeoff roll, a Japanese pax decided he wanted off, pronto.
Lept up, opened the L4 door and tried to jump out...grabbed by two burly guys in aisle seats close by...120 pax then wanted off when the aircraft, chute flapping in the breeze, parked at a remote stand.

Mr @ Spotty M
24th Jun 2003, 12:58
Yes they do have 10 exits, but due to the overwing type they do not have an L3 or R3 drop down door.
It is only high Density config that have the #3 door fit.
By the way you have not been at Britannia since the start of 757 operation or you would have seen the leased aircraft they operated from GLA. This aircraft had overwing exits and was
G-BTEJ leased from Icelandair.
As they would say, Have a nice day now!!

24th Jun 2003, 15:23
Well what do you know...... Overwing exits on a Delta

Pic of Delta 757-200 (http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=371316&WxsIERv=Qm9laW5nIDc1Ny0yMzI%3D&WdsYXMg=RGVsdGEgQWlyIExpbmVz&QtODMg=TG9zIEFuZ2VsZXMgLSBJbnRlcm5hdGlvbmFsIChMQVggLyBLTEFYK Q%3D%3D&ERDLTkt=VVNBIC0gQ2FsaWZvcm5pYQ%3D%3D&ktODMp=SnVuZSA3LCAyMDAz&BP=0&WNEb25u=UGhpbGlwcGUgQmxldXM%3D&xsIERvdWdsY=TjY4NURB&MgTUQtODMgKE=SGV5ICEgV2UndmUgZ290IGEgc3VycHJpc2UgaGVyZSB3aXR oIHRoaXMgZW5naW5lICMyIG1pc3NpbmcgdGhlIHJlZCBwYWludCByaW5nICh 0aGUgbGVmdCBvbmUgaGFzIGdvdCBoaXMpICEhISBMYW5kaW5nIG9uIHJ3eSA yNFIsIG5vc2Ugd2hlZWwgc3RpbGwgYWlyYm9ybmUu&YXMgTUQtODMgKERD=MjYx&NEb25uZWxs=MjAwMy0wNi0yMg%3D%3D&static=yes)



24th Jun 2003, 16:07
This still begs the question as to how, as flight crew, we should deal with a situation such as this. As we are locked in the flight deck it is impossible to know what is happening in the cabin and if passengers are going to commence emergency evacuations for what they perceive as danger there is a potential for serious injury. Imagine if the crew had started to taxy just as the first pax hit the slide..........

24th Jun 2003, 16:21
Well well ......

So Anti-ice and Pontious.... without me saying anything wrong you both made the effort of putting each others 'foot in mouth'.

Thank you very much .... much appreciated.

Just so you know... i'm not anti British but more anti Island dweller mentality By phrasing your remarks the way you did you show absolutely no professional courtesy to your fellow Pilots and FA's.

Why don't you make this a lesson in "how unpredictable pax can be", should do fine on your next CRM refresher.

you might think about this the next time the pax pull a rabbit out of your hat.

So don't be a :{ and accept the fact that there are more configurations than the one you call home.

See ya

24th Jun 2003, 16:27
My 2ps worth...

The best part of this post is the number of know-alls who have posted "facts" that are easily shown as rubbish...

Anyway, we spend all our time preaching to the PAX to listen to the safety demo, and we complain when they don't. In that demo, we tell them how to open the door (we don't say wait for the cabin crew to do so), how to deploy the side (if it doesn't do it automatically) etc. etc. And that's before the special requirements for overwing exits not manned by Cabin Crew. So its hardly surprising that once in a while some actually do listen to that demo, and when they perceive a fire, they do what we have told them...

<<I've had and seen a few Hot-Starts and they are indeed nothing more than momentry flashes. Certainly not a reason for a passenger to initiate an uncommanded evac.>>
I'm glad you were there, and can categorically state exactly how THIS hot start looked. I have seen a few, varying from a small flash, to a number of seconds worth of 20-30 feet of flames (usually after a "wet start"). Not dangerous, but to a PAX probably looks so.

This is one of those incidents that is probably inevitable from time to time. It is worth investigating, to try and minimise a recurrence. However, lets not blow it out of all proportion....

<<Imagine if the crew had started to taxy just as the first pax hit the slide>>
Well - I hope they would stop when they got the door open indication!

<<Chutes on an overwing exit? My god I gotta read the AOM some more>>
Another "know all" !! B742? A320? Sounds from someone here B757 as well....


24th Jun 2003, 17:47
Gee thanks Pointer HA HA HA vv funny, rather have my mentality than 10 of yours M8 ,anyday.
And i believe you were the first to show your incongruence in professional courtesy in your initial reply to me.
( as pointed out by others).
As i said before ,i've know for years that many US 75's have OW's.

I merely pointed out that there would be a hell of a scene in the cabin before people started flipping exits open - surely some crew would have been nearby to prevent this if it was unwarranted ???
After all , Americans in general, are reasonably vocal.
A perfectly reasonable point of view.

Also, i am not an island dweller,as you seem to think but part of a union of countries , who i believe i have more in common with, than many of you guys do state-to-state.;)

Alot of people were humble-ized by recent events ,you obviously missed out somewhere.
I didn't come on here for a slanging match, but to offer some salient points, i have worked on 757's for 16 years now.

Another point from this - Does everyone not think that TOO MUCH information is given in onboard safety video's?

Most graphically demonstrate how each type of exit is opened , and again this week another pax has tried to open an exit inflight on ironically . . a 757!

I think that no mention of exit operation should be mentioned in the pre-flight video , as it is readily apparent when you get to the door anyway.( A dam great handle on most airliners, with an arrow pointing to 'open').

24th Jun 2003, 18:17
NigelOnDraft makes some sensible points. Now I've never seen a Hot Start (never heard of them before this thread), but as a mere fare paying punter I think that if I did - and especially if it was one of those 20 foot dragon types NOD mentions - then there would be a certain amount of trouser clenching going on.

I'm not sure I'd be doing my "I'm a a passenger, get me out of here!" thing though I may mention it to the CC. So are they briefed/knowledgable on these things to mop fevered brows? And is there a given set of circumstances whereby you may well be expecting a burp as you start up and would it make sense for the drivers to make a PA on the matter? Or would that be more likely to get the unwashed masses in a flap?

I shall obviously now spend my time begging for slightly rear-of-wing seats when flying in order to witness this phenomenon and then be able to show off my vast knowledge of all things aviation to assuage my fellow travellers! Well done PPRuNe ...


24th Jun 2003, 18:19
This report contains a photo which shows the "open" emergency exits above wing, complete with chutes deployed!


25th Jun 2003, 01:02
The US media is (not unexpectedly) giving different accounts of what went on. Descriptions of '20-second torching', 'giant fireball' etc. should be viewed in the context of frightened eyewitnesses and/or news editor hyperbole.

One report even suggested the evacuation was initiated by a 'screaming stewardess' :( so unless a rational pax who was aboard can post here (unlikely), we'll never know.

FAA isn't much help - this from their Preliminary Accident Reports:DESCRIPTION

25th Jun 2003, 04:17
C'mon, boys, lets stop scoring points. We all make mistakes and have assumptions which turn out to be incorrect - Yes! even ol' Basil; I know it's a shock to y'all but he too has been less than totally correct on occasion :O
Ref hot starts: they sure do vary. I saw a beaut in the 80s at Jeddah; a Saudia with flames going vertically about 15ft from the jetpipe - just imagine a Primus stove (if you can remember them) 2ft wide which hasn't quite reached vapourising temperature. It was extremely impressive and judging by the slightly high-pitched call of "Pulling back onto stand." to ATC I guess the EGT indication must have been equally awe inspiring. :ooh:

Although I referred to that event as a hot start it could have been more accurately classified as a tailpipe fire (still not a reason to evacuate).

25th Jun 2003, 14:59
uhm, excuse me a bit guys, but isn't the problem here more of uncommanded pax evacuation?

I was just wondering, would we be seeing more of these situations where passengers are taking it upon themselves to correct an abnormality or situation inside the aircraft? Especially with the post 9/11 way of thinking, overzealous passengers may be creating more dangers to themselves than would have been presented.

25th Jun 2003, 15:11
Good job it wasn't a Bristol Britannia! A six foot flame out of the exhaust was a fairly common sight on engine start.

25th Jun 2003, 22:51
Just flew on a Delta 757 last week in emergency exit over the wing. After opening the exit, a handle would be exposed to pull to deploy the chute from the wing

25th Jun 2003, 23:00
As far as I know a hot start is when the temperature inside the chamber exceeds a certain threshold because adequate fluid flow has failed to develop.

Flames emitting from aft engine would tend to suggest a tailpipe fire which could arise from excess fuel condensation overnight as mentioned above.

26th Jun 2003, 00:57
Ahh... unwarranted passenger-initiated evacuation. A subject near and dear to my heart. For instance...

On January 1, 1994, about 0659 eastern standard time, N648UA, a Boeing 767-322, operated by United Airlines Inc. as flight 984, scheduled, domestic, passenger service from Miami, Florida, to Chicago, Illinois, experienced a passenger initiated emergency evacuation on the ramp at the Miami International Airport. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an IFR flight plan was filed. The airplane was not damaged and the airline transport-rated captain and first officer, 5 flight attendants, and 162 passengers were not injured. The flight was originating at the time of the incident.

NTSB Identification: MIA94IA043 .
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of UNITED AIRLINES INC.
Incident occurred Saturday, January 01, 1994 in MIAMI, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 2/14/95
Aircraft: BOEING 767-322, registration: N648UA
Injuries: 169 Uninjured.

Historically, the majority of these events are prompted by 727 APU torching. The fact that the 727 APU is in the wing root and visible to pax prompted the NTSB to issue a recommendation to the FAA that 727 operators be made to warn pax about the possibility (and innocuous nature) of APU torching, and do so prior to APU start. The FAA agreed and suggested to carriers that this PA be made part of the APU starting procedure. In the US the subject of APU torching is a required part of the 727 flight attendant curriculum (wonder how much of that remains these days?). The FA’s know about it and are prepared to deal with pax when it happens, but are pretty much powerless against the mob once somebody screams “fire.” Of course, in that, as a general rule, commercial aircraft tend to have engines in addition to APU's, a similar recommendation covering all potential episodes of turbines becoming momentary attention-getters might be problematic… I mean, what the heck to do say? How about, “Folks,” (and you see right off the bat I’m doing my Delta impression…) “we’re gonna start the engines now, and sometimes when we do that, a little bit of the fire that usually stays inside the engine might sneak out the back. If that happens, don’t worry about it. It’s perfectly normal and it won’t hurt you as long as you stay in your seats. However, if it burns for a long time, comes out anywhere but the back, or if it starts to consume the wing, we’d ask that you go ahead and push that flight attendant call button in the overhead…” I just don’t know that this is the right way to go. Even the FAA has pointed out the possibility that when you provide passengers with too much information you run an even bigger chance of unwarranted, passenger-initiated evacuations—something I believe NoD echoed in his posting.

However, and in my humble opinion, this is just one of a number of pax-related, human behavior issues that have no easy answer. For instance, I was recently talking with an L1011 FA about a planned evac she went through in the last year or so. On departure a couple of tires (or “tyres” to many of you) exploded and chunks went through the wing of the aircraft. No fire, but crew decided to plan for an emergency evac and return to the airport. FA’s briefed pax for arrival and evac. You know the drill: “don’t take anything with you…” Well, as soon as the aircraft was down, and before it even came to a stop, pax were up and emptying the overhead baggage compartments. She said that five seconds after the aircraft came to a halt the aisles were impassable for bags, etc., that had been dragged out. Turned out they didn’t have to do the emergency evac, but if they HAD needed to do it, there would have been no clear path to the exits.

Sorry about the rant, but this kind of stuff really peeves me… There’s more (much more), but I’ve gone on far too long as it is…


Cyclic Hotline
26th Jun 2003, 03:35
Really, Prim 1?

I did not know that.

It has become apparent that I will need to be completely retrained to ensure that I understand how all this works, as I was totally unaware of this! :{

Maybe someone can point me toward the reference material that everyone else seem's to be reading and referring to, that I am obviously missing? :(

Must have just been lucky troubleshooting these things in the past! :ok:

30/30 Green Light
26th Jun 2003, 11:54
Cyclic Hotline,I too have been labouring under a number of misapprehensions for all these years.Obviously the theory and operation of gas turbines is different in the northern hemisphere.Better go back and re-sit my Basics.Well,maybe not !

Few Cloudy
26th Jun 2003, 13:28
When Pax or even Cabin Crew do things like that, they get into seriously uncharted territory. It happened at least twice at Swissair in the past:

On push back from DCG some fumes from a truck entered the cabin and set off the toilet smoke alarm. The girl at the back thought it was the evac signal and started an evacuation. The ship was moving... The other cabin crew members cought the action and selected the real evac signal on (it sounded similar on the SR MD-80, so I used to demo the two before pax boarding to the crew). The first the two pilots (guest crew from SAS at that time) realised of this was the door open lights and the evac signal repeater in the cockpit.

You can't stop a rush like that very well and the result was a shambles - fortunately with no major injuries.

Next case was an Airbus 310 which had had a smoke alarm in the belly while at the stand. While the Capt, who was on his walk round investigated, a precautionary announcement was made by the FO to halt further boarding and for pax to keep their seats. One strong minded individual opened the overwing door and got out onto the wing, followed by about ten other sheep. There they stood, far above the ground and needed a lot of persuasion to get back in...

Now if that happened in one airline, it probably has happened elsewhere too.

Moral? Lots of them but primarily:

Brief between Cockpit and Cabin Crew should periodically include evac procedures - communications - need to check with cockpit before starting an evac - need to make sure aircraft is stopped - what the cabin crew should know about cockpit actions in evac (that the engines run until actions have been performed, etc.)

Briefing of pax - here there are huge differences in standard between airlines. Actually easyJet are the ones who make damn sure that the pax are listening and give a special brief to the OW pax. Some other airlines run an automatic briefing and serve coffee/Newspapers and even chat to the Pax at the same time...

Last point - some airlines did reserve an overwing seat for crew for TO and LDG (I still have a seat sign in my car) but economics won the day and now the pax sits there - able bodied but not trained.

26th Jun 2003, 13:44
now the pax sits there - able bodiedIf only :( I have lost count of the number of times (as SLF) I have seen these rows occupied by obese people, children, non-English speakers etc.

Cyclic Hotline
26th Jun 2003, 13:54

I have worked primarily in the Northern hemisphere, with only the occasional incursion South.

It is quite apparent that we are obviously lacking some kind of basic instruction in either hemisphere.

If you find the answers, maybe you could e-mail me the answer, as I am really embarrased about my lack of basic knowledge. In fact, I fear for my job should any of this become public knowledge, as I obviously am totally oblivious to the real cause of these problems.

Worse still, I've been teaching hundreds of people the wrong technique to fix these problems, and they will probably lynch me if they ever read PPRuNe! :uhoh:

Few Cloudy
26th Jun 2003, 20:34
So on a ratio of about 2:1, we have people trying to address the problem and others demonstrating their grasp of sarcasm. Kinda holds up the flow...

26th Jun 2003, 21:32
There has been more than a few self evacuations in the event of tailpipe fires.

UAL had one in NRT on a B744 where the passengers interfered with the cockpit crews procedures to control the fire when the passengers slid down rthe chutes in front of the engines.

No need for me to get in the definition argument of hot starts, hung starts or tailpipe fires. The FCOM covers these quite adequately for the cockpit crew.

The problem comes in when the cockpit crews normal reaction is to discontinue fuel while leaving the engine on the starter. The reason for leaving it on the starter is to continue airflow sufficient to blow the flame horrizontal out the tailpipe.

The greater problem is when the airflow through the engine ceases and the flame goes vertical up into the wing. Lots of damage has occured under the latter.

The problem is compounded when the crew fears for keeping the engines motoring on the starter with passengers milling about the inlets.

Thus all evacuations need to be coordinated between front and back pronto!

26th Jun 2003, 22:52
Brief between Cockpit and Cabin Crew should periodically include evac procedures - communications - need to check with cockpit before starting an evac - need to make sure aircraft is stopped - what the cabin crew should know about cockpit actions in evac (that the engines run until actions have been performed, etc.)

Now I am sorry............... As cabin crew, if I needed to start an evac myself I would not mess around asking the flight deck if it is ok to evac or not!!:mad: If events in the cabin are clearly disasterous, such as thick smoke and or flames entering the cabin we will start an evacuation regardless of what the flight deck instructions are. After all, the pilots can not see what is happening in the cabin. The airline I work for trust the cabin crew with this responsibility, we have always been taught to start an evac if events in the cabin are clearly disasterous!

Obvouisly if smoke and flames are not present in the cabin, then it maybe safer to stay in the cabin. The last thing you would want is to be hit by a fire truck on the ramp after evacuating the aircraft. :ooh:

28th Jun 2003, 08:09
I've flown as both cabin crew and purser for both UK and Canadian airlines, and procedures and training vary slightly.

In Canada, Transport Canada mandates that cabin crew members are trained on recognising and effectively handling 'Positive Panic' - the term when passengers panic or distress leads them to try and take control, over-ride crew member instructions etc.

It has to be said though that stopping pax at an unmanned overwing exit from opening and starting an evacuation is very difficult for cabin crew members. On the 757-200 that I flew on, their wasn't even a direct view of the cabin from either doors 2 or doors 4, so the first you would know of the evacuation is when you hear a commotion, panic, or notice people getting up from their seats - by then a bit too late once the evac has started. Second - given the confusion of suddenly noticing an evacuation in progress, If I were in that situation, it would probably be hard at that point to tell if a pax had initiated it, or if it was another crew member, and as per the relevant CARS, I would follow on and start evacuating from my relevant door.

Unsupervised exits are a thorny issue. While I always try to give a full and relevant briefing to overwing exit pax prior to departure, it is difficult when some passengers (often frequent business travellers) do not want to hear what you are saying, or just brush me off.

As a final note, as a cabin crew member, the first I knew about the phenomon of a 'torching' was actually when training for a Canadian carrier, and the subject was covered in detail. I was not taught about 'torching' during initial training for a British carrier.

28th Jun 2003, 09:23

Great and informative post.

Just in case others would like to see what torching looks like.


Final 3 Greens
30th Jun 2003, 14:44
Few Cloudy

Actually easyJet are the ones who make damn sure that the pax are listening and give a special brief to the OW pax

Having flown easy on 8 sectors recently, I regret to have to inform you that there was a special brief on 4 (2 of these by the same FA, who was young and taking her responsibilities very seriously.)

On the other 4, there was no brief. I know because I was in an overwing exit row on each flight.

This is not an anti easy dig, but a statement of the facts as experienced.

30th Jun 2003, 19:25
I have just re-read sections of the report on the British Airtours(BA, not Airtours/Mytravel) 737 incident at MAN in 1985. This certainly underlines the need for a quick response to a fire incident.

The command to evacuate was given 25 seconds after the "thud" of the uncontained failure was heard, and it took a further 20 seconds before the aircraft came to a complete stop. A further 25 seconds elapsed before the first emergency exit was opened.

The report indicates that it was only too clear to the pax that this was a major incident, and some of them left their seats before the evacuation command was broadcast.

It is not clear why, after the evacuation command had been broadcast, the purser opened the flight deck door to ask the captain to confirm that the evacuation order had been given("Say again?"). Is this still a requirement? :confused:


Few Cloudy
1st Jul 2003, 03:59
Having worked on the procedures and rules for evacuation in a past job, it's hard to give a non wordy answer but here goes:

There are many reasons to evacuate an aircraft - some apparent to the cockpit crew - some to the cabin crew and some to the tower or other aircraft. After a Take-off abort for any reason the cockpit crew is extremely busy with procedures depending on the reason for the abort. Ditto after an emergency landing. The next task is to evaluate the safety side and decide on an evac or not.

The captain should, however have an announcement made as soon as possible so that the cabin crew and pax know what is going on. If the decision is to keep seats, this should be announced. If a reasonable time goes by and there is no announcement the cabin crew have to get busy - maybe the pilots are incapacitated or dead.

But for the very good reasons mentioned above (running engines - electrical and other systems - emergency lights not on etc.) an evacuation without cockpit support is extremely hazardous so there has to be a pretty pressing reason to do one. Where I was, we decided on "Explosive fire in the cabin" "Aircraft structure (meaning cabin area) broken" and "Ditching". Even then, it is of the utmost importance that the aircraft is stopped.

While this reasonable time (it is very short but seems like ages after an incident) is passing, the #1 is well advised to try to get contact with the cockpit crew. Why?

Because firstly, in order to make the evac decision, the cockpit crew needs all the info it can get, including a report from the cabin crew - things may not look so good when this gets in - or vice versa.

Secondly the cabin crew member will see the state of the cockpit - if the guys are done for then it will be evident that no checklist work has been done, meaning the aircraft is not prepared for evacuation, meaning increased hazards for all concerned.

It's not a matter of "not messing around" asking the cockpit crew - that is the way it is trained in most places. It has to be co-ordinated somewhere and that is usually the cockpit. There is no "power play" here - teamwork of the highest order is required.
It is infinitely more beneficial to chat within the crew about these matters before a flight than to say how you like your coffee.

Hope this helps - by all means shoot this post down if you have better ideas/ procedures. We never stop learning.

1st Jul 2003, 05:38
As a headset operator I always tell the flight deck if I see any kind of flame from an engine on start up and up to now this has always been acknowledged by the FD.With this the FD can reassure cabin crew if they report that passengers have reported seeing flames. If the flame continues for quite a few seconds I try to give a running commentary of what I am observing.The FD can then monitor the situation with the engine sensors and the information they receive from me and act accordingly. I've witnessed many a hotstart (look great in the dark) and the embreaer 145 on a cold morning provide a good display.However the best display I've seen was a BAE 146 when No. 2 engine disapeared in an orange flame which resulted in a return to stand for further inspection(no damage found).On the subsequent pushback when it came to restart No. 2 the FD asked me if they were clear to start the 'flame-thrower'.The people involved in engine starts that produce a flame know what the situation is unfortunatley the passengers don't and there lies the problem that caused this incident.

1st Jul 2003, 06:18
I've witnessed many a hotstart... the embreaer 145 on a cold morning... provide a good display racasanman is sure right on that one. I was wondering about the paint job after taxying behind an attention getting example:uhoh: Perhaps that's why Continental Express goes with bare metal.

Whether a hotstart or an abort, prominent flames command a lot of attention in the back. In a true emergency, seconds count. And the consequences of a premature or unnecessary evacuation are much easier to take than a delayed one.

10th Jul 2003, 04:41
Preliminary report (http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20030702X00998) now posted on NTSB site.

Few Cloudy
11th Jul 2003, 01:48
Thank you Tiger,

Succinct report stating facts only - and not good!

Few Cloudy
16th Jul 2003, 17:34
See the thread on this sad incident and try to imagine evacuating passengers into this environment. There is the matter of the hot end too.

These people have our trust. Something terrible must be going on in the cabin before a running engine environment becomes the lesser of two evils...